Gordon bats for empowering PH sugar industry amid importation bid
Following a proposal by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to import sugar, Senator Richard J. Gordon has recommended to develop the Philippines’ sugar industry and help the farmers earn more through innovation.
“[Dapat] palakasin ang capability at capacity ng ating sugar farmers para lumakas ang kanilang produkto at mabigyan sila ng tamang presyo na hindi naman masyadong mataas at magsu-suffer ang consumers. The balance must be made na hindi dapat mag-import,” Gordon pointed out in an interview by a local radio station in Bacolod.
“Maraming sugar sa Negros pero wala akong nakikitang candy factory. Dapat iyong ating sugar products, nagagamit natin para magkaroon ng value added iyong mga sugar planter natin,” he added.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), more than 50% of sugar production in the country is coming from Negros Island.
Led by the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED), sugar producers had recently expressed alarm over Sugar Order No. 4 issued by the SRA on April 5 that seeks to bring in 350,000 metric tons of raw and refined sugar in the country.
Last February, Agriculture Secretary William Dar defended the government’s move to allow importation of sugar and said that the decision was based on the data showing deficiencies in some commodities including sugar.
However, Gordon stressed the plan to import such product will make the sugar farmers suffer.
“Hindi natin namamalayan na talagang nahihirapan ang mga tao natin at dapat iyan ay pigilan na talaga. Dapat hindi natin pabayaan ang sugar industry. Anumang bansa ay talagang pino-proteksyunan ang mga farmers ng gobyerno,” he said.
As a strong supporter of the sugar industry, Gordon has co-authored Senate Resolution No. 22 which urges the President not to adopt a liberalization policy for the sugar sector in order to safeguard the interest of more than 84,000 sugar farmers and 720,000 industry workers.
The Resolution was transmitted to the Office of the President on November 14, 2019.
“Ang importante diyan ay iyong work ethic at iyong trabaho ng mga sugar farmer na nagtatanim sila para makapaglagay tayo ng produkto sa market. Kung kailangang pagbigyan naman ang sugar industry na makabawi sa presyong tama sapagkat sila ang nagsu-supply ng sugar sa bayan, bakit hindi natin tulungan?” Gordon concluded.